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NASA Langley Aerospace Engineer Invited to White House

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, The White House Office of Public Engagement and the National Space Council hosted a meeting with Latino STEM students and space industry leaders Oct. 18, 2023. NASA Langley’s Wilbert Andrés Ruperto-Hernández was one of more than 100 attendees invited to the event at the Eisenhower Executive Office in Washington, D.C.

Wilbert Andrés Ruperto-Hernández stands outside the Eisenhower Executive Office in Washington, D.C.

“This was certainly an inspiring, humbling, and transformational experience, hopefully one of many I will have as an aerospace engineer at NASA,” said Ruperto-Hernández, who joined the Space Mission Analysis Branch of the Systems Analysis and Concepts Directorate (SACD) in September.

Latino leaders shared personal anecdotes about working in government and science, underscoring the value and importance of an inclusive and representative workforce. There were also networking opportunities for young Latinos. Ruperto-Hernández was particularly impressed by the number of Puerto Rican scientists, engineers, and businesspeople in attendance. 

“Our Latino and Caribbean culture has an inherent spirit of perseverance and insatiable creativity that is empowering and encouraging,” he said.  “For years I have looked up to all the Latinos in NASA and in the broader space industry, so now being among them, as a young professional, meant that all the efforts and sacrifices I’ve made are starting to pay off.”  

He was also gratified to see so many students at the meeting and believes that mentorship is the way forward for diversifying the space community. 

“I dream of becoming an astronaut and a future where everyone can explore outer space,” Ruperto-Hernández adds, “but I recognize it takes multiple steps and many people to achieve it. Therefore, I am passionate about connecting and learning from others before passing that knowledge onto the next generation.”  

Agenda for a meeting hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the National Space Council 

Author: Sondra Woodward
Published: October 2023

  • Marie Ivanco, a member of the Space Mission Analysis Branch of NASA Langley Research Center
    Marie Ivanco, an aerospace engineer and decision science expert, explains how she tackles the challenges of designing new science mission architectures in a way that meets objectives from interested parties around the world. Credits: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.